BonaResponds does its part in helping out


[Image courtesy of]

By Emily Rosman

One of BonaResponds’ favorite slogans is “do what you can” because the club’s members believe doing just one thing can make a difference in someone’s world — no matter how infrequent it occurs.

BonaResponds is an on-campus organization that combines leadership skills with hard work. Student and faculty volunteers come together for the objective of helping others. They commit themselves to hard work for about 51 weeks out of the year; occasionally skipping Christmas break as a result of their dedication.

The organization has a growing history behind it; it was formed about nine years ago after Hurricane Katrina hit in New Orleans. Jim Mahar was the person who initially created BonaResponds after being astounded at the aftermath of the hurricane.

“The clincher was showing an interview with homeland security where they said there’s no problem at the convention centers they had set up,” said Mahar, a St. Bonaventure University finance professor. “Then, they showed a split screen of homeland security still speaking and on the other side was live footage of dead bodies in the street and lines that were hours long outside of convention centers.”

Afterwards, Mahar knew he wanted to help. A couple months later, he and 286 people traveled down to New Orleans where BonaResponds officially began.

Continue reading “BonaResponds does its part in helping out”

BonaResponds packs meals for starving children

By Julia Mericle

On Saturday, St. Bonaventure University students and local community members donned hairnets and rubber gloves to take part in a food-packing event coordinated by BonaResponds and “Feed My Starving Children.”

“Feed My Starving Children” is a nonprofit organization committed to hand packing meals that are delivered to hungry children in nearly 70 countries.

Finance professor Jim Mahar helped plan the event that produced 108,864 meals to send. Mahar, who doubles as the coordinator for BonaResponds, explains that the number can be translated into enough food to ensure that almost 300 people will be able to have a meal every day for a year.

“Months and months down the road, the benefits of the work the volunteers put forth will still be being felt, or maybe I should say tasted,Mahar said.

Continue reading “BonaResponds packs meals for starving children”

BonaResponds to host another “food-packing day”

By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Nov. 12) – BonaResponds has grown bigger than anyone could have imagined since its founding in 2005.

At tonight’s St. Bonaventure University Student Government Association meeting, a member of the volunteer disaster-relief group introduced the Haiti/Philippines Initiative.

Four years ago, BonaResponds raised a few hundred dollars and hosted a food-packing day in the Reilly Center for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. By the end of the day, 500 volunteers had packed 113,184 meals, which can feed 310 children a meal a day for one year.

This year, in a way of saying the group hasn’t forgotten about Haiti, BonaResponds will host another food-packing day in the RC on March 22. And instead of 100,000 packaged meals being the goal, coordinator Jim Mahar has set the goal at 200,000 since the meals will be going both to Haiti and victims of the typhoon in the Philippines.

Continue reading “BonaResponds to host another “food-packing day””

Editor Thanks Bonaventure Community

[All the ruined items being placed outside the Lazo’s house just two days after the Hurricane ripped through Rockaway – Photo by Ryan Lazo]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

If there was ever any doubt in my mind on whether I chose to attend the right university, there is no question I know the answer now.

St. Bonaventure University is a part of me forever after what occurred over the past week.

As most people know, my family and I were badly affected by Hurricane Sandy. We live in Rockaway Park in Queens, N.Y. My house sits one block away from Jamaica Bay and one block away from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s a beautiful place to live, and I’ve cherished all my memories I have growing up in this tight-knit community.

However, Sandy changed everything.

The Category 1 hurricane roared into the peninsula and caused immediate havoc with a record storm surge of 10 to 12 feet. It immediately brought flooding to the area, and coupled with high tide and a full moon, the impact was devastating.

In the few times I was able to contact my family, they told me what was going on — flood water engulfing our entire first floor of the house and fires springing up all over my community.

I left for home as soon as I could and saw the damage first hand.

Everything was gone —My family’s clothes, furniture, my brother’s toys, DVDs and video games.

To help Ryan and his family, click here to visit the donation page.

The worst was cleaning up the photo albums which held pictures of my childhood, vacations and other cherished memories.

It hurt to see my mother immediately begin to cry as she watched my dad, my brother and me get to work and try to clean up the place that was once our home.

The boardwalk that brought tourists to our area and made it a must-travel summer destination, destroyed. Businesses gone in the blink of an eye, including my own father’s restaurant.

But then something unexpected happened.

Jim Mahar led BonaResponds to my community and, specifically, my home. The group, filled with some friends, Bona students and alumni, helped us clean it up in a matter of hours, tearing down walls, moving anything that could be salvaged and helping boost the morale of my family.

In addition to the immediate action of BonaResponds, my family and I were swarmed with texts, phone calls, messages and tweets from those within the Bona community reaching out with support.

And that support turned into a donation page, one that promised to help me and my family begin the recovery process.

In a time of need, the Bonaventure community showed its true colors.

It’s a community that is caring of each other, one that is not afraid to reach out and help those in need. Not only were they able to help me, but they were able to help my community, and the strangers we worked with quickly became family.

There are not enough words in the English language that can truly describe how thankful I am.

This university has not only given me an education and the tools to claim a job in the workforce — they gave me another family.

While a simple “Thank You” will not suffice for how much everyone within this amazing Bonaventure family has helped me, it truly is meant with all my heart.

The saying really is true — “Once a Bonnie, always a Bonnie.”

And I will never forget it.

[A video compilation of the damage Hurricane Sandy did to the Rockaways]

Bonaventure community comes together to make a difference

By Maddie Gionet, Co-Editor in Chief, @MaddieGNA

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Sept. 29) – More than 150 St. Bonaventure University community members came together on Saturday to fulfill the wish of one woman – to create warm snuggly blankets for cancer patients.

“When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she had difficulty sleeping,” said Jim Mahar, son of Marge Mahar who came up with the idea for this project. “One night, she was praying for all the people in the country who had sent her get well cards, and she said she felt like she was being surrounded by a warm snuggly blanket.”

And just like that, Warm Snuggly Blanket began.

Warm Snuggly Blanket works to create and send blankets and letters to cancer patients as a way of support, according to the project’s website.

To show support for those undergoing cancer treatment around the country, the St. Bonaventure community and BonaResponds worked to make as many blankets as they could during a day of service.

With two shifts running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4, students, professors and members of the community worked to cut, tie and sew patches onto 276 blankets that will be a symbol of support and hope to people fighting cancer in remembrance of Marge.

“Some of the blankets will go locally to people who’ve asked for them, one will go to a little girl in Florida, but the bulk of them will go to the Kevin Guest House in Buffalo,” said Mahar, an associate professor of finance and the coordinator of BonaResponds.

Mahar and members of BonaResponds planned the day along with other collections to help out the community.

“Today, we did the Warm Snuggly Blanket project, wrote letters to soldiers, had a food drive and a shoe drive called “Soles4Souls,” said Rick Lewis, a senior finance and accounting major.

Lewis, who helped run the service day, has been part of BonaResponds for three years and was glad to see the turnout.

“I hope the blankets bring people comfort, and I hope this day also gets people interested in BonaResponds and volunteering on a weekly basis with us,” said Lewis.

The volunteer work that the Bonaventure students did today confirmed to community members their initial thoughts on Bona students.

“There were more students here than I expected which was not a surprise but a confirmation of the Bonaventure spirit,” said Sue Massaro of Olean. “It’s nice to see they want to make a contribution.”

And a contribution is exactly what the students said they wanted to make.

“Dr. Mahar always talks about how he really cares for people,” said Adrian Boone, a senior business information systems major. “He gives his time and his money to help others, and those are attributes I admire.”

Other students agreed with Boone.

“I’ve always made excuses as to why I couldn’t come volunteer, but today has shown me the impact of our work,” said Blair Bedgood, a senior finance major. “I hope to continue doing this – a lot can come of this.”

And a lot did come of this day.

With upbeat music blasting until the last “Pray. Fight. Win.” patch, created by Marge during her last day of chemo, was sewn onto the last blanket Mahar knew a lot more would keep coming of this.

“This is not the last Warm Snuggly Blanket event by any stretch,” said Mahar. “Making a blanket and donating it to this project is open to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and I know it will grow significantly. My mom was always about helping, and I think today not only are her ripples continuing, they’re expanding.”

For more information on how to get involved with the Warm Snuggly Blanket project please visit the project’s website.

BonaResponds began after Hurricane Katrina with the mission of helping others through volunteering, according to its website. Along with service projects on the weekends in the local area, the group has traveled as far as Enterprise, Ala. to as close as Buffalo, N.Y. The volunteer group will be traveling to Camden, N.J. during St. Bonaventure University’s Columbus Day Break. If you are interested in being part of this service trip, please visit the BonaResponds website.

Bite-size News

Bite-size News is The Intrepid’s version of a brief. All information came from the St. Bonaventure University Notice Board unless stated otherwise.

WSBU in the Top 10 

Campus radio station 88.3 The Buzz has moved on to the final round in the mtvU Woodie Award. 

Go to to vote.  

System Shutdown, Datatel and Informer will not be available Thursday from 2 to 8 a.m. due to a system maintenance.

BonaRespond Spring Break Trip

A $25 deposit is due Friday for BonaRespond’s spring break’s trip.

Total cost of the trip to Greenville, S.C. is $125 and due Feb. 23, but $25 needs to be paid in the business secretary’s office to Renne Chapman. If money is the only thing preventing someone from going, please see Jim Mahar.

For more information or to sign up online, go to

Washington Internship Representative Comes To SBU

A SUNY Brockport Washington Program representative will visit St. Bonaventure Monday at Reilly Center 211 from 12:30 to 1:10 p.m. to discuss applying for fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters. 

Personal interviews with the presenter from 1:15 to 2:30 are available, but students need to e-mail for an appointment. Students should come with an updated resume in hand.

For more information, visit 

 Rugby Interest Meeting

St. Bonaventure’s men’s rugby team will host an interest meeting Thursday in the Reilly Center room 211 at 4 p.m.

Rathskeller Events

Students can come down to the Rathskeller today for Open Mic Night from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Ping pong, darts, billiards and board games are available Thursday from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Friday is senior social from 5 to 8 p.m. and karaoke night from 6 to 11.